Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation has grown in popularity as a therapeutic device for training and an ambulation aid to human paralyzed muscle. Despite its current clinical use, few studies have attempted to concurrently investigate the functional and intramuscular adaptations which occur after electrical stimulation training. Six individuals with a spinal cord injury performed 10 weeks of electrical stimulation leg cycle training (30 min d−1, 3 d week−1). The paralyzed vastus lateralis muscle showed significant alterations in skeletal muscle characteristics after the training, indicated by an improvement in total work output (52–112 kJ; P 〈 0.05), an increase in fiber cross-sectional area (18 to 41 × 102 µm2; P 〈 0.05), a reduction in the percentage of type IIX fibers (75% to 12%; P 〈 0.05), a decrease in myosin heavy chain IIx (68% to 44%; P 〈 0.05), an increase in capillary density (2–3.5 capillaries around fiber; P 〈 0.05) and increases in activity levels of citrate synthase (7–16 mU mg−1 protein) and hexokinase (1.2–2.4 mU mg−1 protein). This study showed that 10 weeks of electrical stimulation training of human paralyzed muscle induces concurrent improvements in functional capacity and oxidative metabolism.
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